Munich is famous for its heritage, customs and of course the people living here ore those who lived here in former times. Some of them influenced Munich’s history, others were just nice fellows, sometimes a bit frakish, but always typical Munich-ish :-). Read on to know more about Franz Xaver Krenkl.
Franz Xaver Krenkl lived in Munich in the early and mid 19th century. He was a “Lohnkutscher” (today we would call these people “professional driver”). Horses were his life. No wonder he also owned a racing stable. We today know, that he (his horses) won the “Oktoberfest-Horse-Race” fourteen times and was quite rich, because he was also a successful horse breeder.
One day he drove with one of his carriages through the English Garden in Munich (for those of you who don’t know, this “garden” is 3,75 square kilometers huge and the eighth biggest park in the world). After a while, the carriage of crown prince Ludwig (who later became king Ludwig I of Bavaria) came insight. Krenkl had faster horses, but actually it was forbidden to overtake the royal carriage.
He did anyway and as crown prince Ludwig looked out who dared to overtake the crown prince’s carriage, Krenkl looked at the prince and yelled “Majestät, wer ko, der ko!”. This sentence in Bavarian dialect is quite hard to translate.There’s an English idiom, but this is more connected to the look and shape of people: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”.
This idiom can’t be used to translate the sentence of Franz Xaver Krenkl, because it doesn’t transport how he meant it.
A literal translation that keeps the original meaning maybe is: “Sire, He who can, will!”.
The prince was upset, but at the same time very amused about this typical Munich citizen (they are known to be cheeky but at the same time adorable).
So the next day, Krenkl wanted to go to work with his carriage. But when he tried to drive out his courtyard, the royal carriage blocked the way. The crown prince then said after a while with a big grin “See Krenkl….he who can, will!”
[„Krenkl, Franz Xaver – Kutscher und Sprüchmacher“ von (1819-1881) – http://stadtmuseum.bayerische-landesbibliothek-online.de/pnd/120912694/. Lizenziert unter Public domain über Wikimedia Commons.]
So Franz Xaver Krenkl coined the bavarian idiom “Wer ko, der ko!” which is widely used by Bavarians until today.
Therefore he is a famous local person, but unfortunately the memory about this cheeky citizen fades away with time. To prevent that nobody remebers him and his idiom you will find a sculpture/bust inside of the archway of Karlstor/Neuhauser Tor, located at Karlsplatz/Stachus.
– Krenkl is buried in the “Alter südlicher Friedhof” (Old southern cemetary), field 17 (grave 17-09-57).
– The “Krenklstraße” (Krenklstreet) near Munich’s trotting course is named after him